Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘Playoffs Start Now’

Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

Depending on who you talked to in the Eagles’ locker room yesterday after their loss to the Cardinals, you felt different a emotion radiating from the team.

Jordan Matthews explained how the Eagles beat themselves, while Malcolm Jenkins candidly rejected that premise. Zach Ertz discussed looking ahead, while Connor Barwin compared the Cardinals to other teams the Eagles have played (he said Arizona is better than Carolina or New England).

But most of the players repeated some variation of what Lane Johnson called “a do-or-die situation.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Closer Look At the Ertz Play

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

It was the longest play of Zach Ertz‘s young career and in his mind, the biggest.

The game was knotted at 20-20 with five minutes remaining, and the Eagles were facing a 3rd-and-3 from their own 41 when Ertz pulled off the big catch-and-run down the left sideline that set up the eventual game-deciding Caleb Sturgis field goal. Read more »

Eagles Notes: Sam Bradford Returns To Practice

Sam Bradford

Chip Kelly didn’t provide reporters with health updates on his players, after getting Jason Peters‘ status wrong last week, so we were left to our own devices.

T-Mac brings us video of Sam Bradford warming up with his teammates, who was later seen throwing with the Eagles’ quarterbacks.

This means he has progressed through the concussion protocol at least to the point where he can wear a helmet in practice and throw a football, but does not inherently indicate that he is completely cleared for contact just yet.

Read more »

All-22: Twists And Turns In the Passing Game

Brent Celek. (Jeff Fusco)

Brent Celek. (Jeff Fusco)

Prior to the Eagles game Sunday against the Dolphins, many expected them to use a run-heavy offense and exploit the NFL’s second-to-worst run defense. But then they averaged just 2.3 yards per carry against Miami, so it wasn’t surprising they threw the ball 48 times compared to 36 rushes.

However, even before their struggles against Miami on the ground, they relied on the pass to move the ball down the field, throwing for nearly 400 yards (although -39 sack yards hurt their total number of passing yards). They utilized their tight ends in particular as Brent Celek accumulated 134 receiving yards, his highest total since 2012 and the third-most of his career, while Zach Ertz added seven catches for 68 receiving yards.

“We just thought those match-ups for us were something we felt like going into the game [with],” Chip Kelly said. “We run the ball a lot with Brent when Brent is in there, so obviously we felt like in play-action pass, we could exploit some things there, and I thought Brent did a really nice job with it.

“They made some adjustments and played a little bit more man coverage than zone coverage to kind of take some of that stuff away, but we felt like those match-ups on the inside with their linebackers and safeties were to our advantage with our tight ends.” Read more »

Sanchez Back At Controls Of ‘Fast-Break’ Offense

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The Eagles offense under Mark Sanchez might best be described as frenetic: fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way.

That was certainly the feel on Sunday against the Dolphins. The tempo appeared to pick up noticeably when Sanchez entered the game for the injured Sam Bradford as the Eagles moved down the field in bursts. It also felt wobbly and went off the rails at precisely the wrong time, neglecting to brake entering the turn.

Sanchez’s career has fallen along those lines. The former No. 5 overall pick out of USC has reached some respectable heights in this league and shown the ability to move an offense and make plays, but has had trouble reining it in when necessary and has been unable to keep the turnovers off him as a result. He’s averaged 16 interceptions per year (81 total) in five seasons, including 11 in nine games last season with the Eagles and a critical one Sunday against Miami. Read more »

Notes: Agholor, Alonso Expect To Play

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

The Eagles are in pretty good shape health-wise heading into their pivotal Week 9 matchup against the Cowboys.

Nelson Agholor said he was able to do everything at practice Tuesday and that the “game plan” is for him to play in Dallas Sunday night. The rookie receiver missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain.

“It felt good. Great to get out there and try to move around a bit,” he said.

Kiko Alonso is also hopeful that he’ll be in the lineup. The linebacker injured his knee during the first Cowboys game back in Week 2 and hasn’t played since. He now says his knee “feels really good” and is hopeful he won’t “miss a beat.” Read more »

All-22: Eagles Failing To Capitalize On Turnovers

DeMarco Murray. (USA Today Sports)

DeMarco Murray. (USA Today Sports)

After the Atlanta game, amid all of the ups and down the Eagles have encountered in this rollercoaster ride of a season, there has been one constant: the defense has put them in a position to win games.

According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles rank first in the NFL in turnovers forced per drive, at 21.8 percent. That was evident against the Panthers, as they intercepted Cam Newton three times, even though he only threw four picks in the previous five games.

“Our defense did a good job of creating turnovers for us but we have to turn those in to seven [points] and not three,” Chip Kelly said. “We talk about response after turnovers and we end of up kicking two field goals.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Eagles Blow Opportunities

Josh Huff drops a potential touchdown. (USA Today Sports)

Josh Huff drops a potential touchdown catch. (USA Today Sports)

It’s unclear who said it, but the sentiment was probably widely held in the locker room.

“Catch the f-cking football!” one Eagle reportedly yelled after last night’s loss. The Eagles dropped six to eight passes — it depends on how you count them — but the takeaway is the same: it’s tough to expect Sam Bradford to win games when you don’t give him much help.

“Our defense plays lights out every single week,” Jordan Matthews said. “You can’t tell me we don’t have a championship defense. You can’t tell me we don’t have a championship quarterback.” Read more »

All-22: Improvements In the Run Game

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

The Eagles have a losing record, are winless against NFC East opponents and haven’t been able to play well in all four quarters of a game through five weeks.

However, beating the Saints Sunday put the Eagles on a path to potentially turn the season around.

“Everybody knew this was a very important game,” Jason Kelce said. “1-4 is drastically different from 2-3, especially with where the division is. I don’t want to say it was a must-win, but it kind of was.” Read more »

All-22: Behind the Offensive Line’s Bad Start

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Jason Kelce was extremely frustrated after the Eagles’ loss to the Redskins Sunday, calling the offensive line “a disgrace.” When he met with reporters Tuesday after practice, he didn’t back off his comments at all.

“I still think that through the first four weeks, we have been a disgrace,” Kelce said. “We haven’t been able to run the ball. Especially with the backs that we have, we should have rushing yards. We don’t give the offensive coaches and head coach the confidence to call run plays, because we’re not consistent.”

Despite spending more than $50 million in the offseason on DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, the Eagles rank 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (70) and 31st in yards per carry (3.1). Although they appeared to take a big step forward in the box score Sunday by reaching nearly five yards a rush, that mark dips below 3.5 when eliminating Murray’s 30-yard run. Read more »

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